Stan Lee's daughter, Joan Celia Lee, sides with Sony over Marvel/Disney in the recent Spider-Man split. Earlier this week, moviegoers were stunned to learn Peter Parker would no longer be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, after talks between Sony and Disney broke down. The two studios were attempting to iron out a new deal; Disney asked for an even 50/50 split in co-financing and box office returns, and Sony preferred to keep things as they were under the original terms from 2015. With no agreement in place, the companies parted ways and ended their brief partnership.
The development was a big blow to the MCU, as Spider-Man had been set up as one of the franchise's integral characters moving forward. In fact, part of his arc in Far From Home was accepting his responsibility as "the next Iron Man" in a post-Tony Stark world. Marvel fans are none too pleased by this turn of events, and have directed their ire almost solely at Sony, even organizing an ill-advised protest in the fall. However, there's now at least one prominent individual taking Sony's side in this incident.
Speaking with TMZ, Joan Celia Lee made some scathing remarks criticizing Disney and Marvel, saying she's happy Sony is going off to do their own thing with Spider-Man and related characters:
"Marvel and Disney seeking total control of my father's creations must be checked and balanced by others who, while still seeking to profit, have genuine respect for Stan Lee and his legacy. Whether it's Sony or someone else's, the continued evolution of Stan's characters and his legacy deserves multiple points of view. When my father died, no one from Marvel or Disney reached out to me. From day one, they have commoditized my father’s work and never shown him or his legacy any respect or decency. In the end, no one could have treated my father worse than Marvel and Disney's executives."
As stated above, Disney wanted a 50/50 split with Sony on future Spider-Man movies (potentially extending beyond the MCU installments). The Mouse House's overwhelming dominance over the film industry is considered a troubling matter by many, and there are those who hold the opinion Disney already owns enough (especially with their purchase of Fox going through this year). Arguably, Sony deserves credit for sticking up for themselves and not folding to Disney's demands. While the Sony/Marvel deal yielded excellent results in the MCU, Sony has shown they don't necessarily need Marvel to make hit Spider-Man films. Last year, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won the Oscar for Best Animated Film and Venom overcame its mixed critical reception to become a record-breaking box office smash. Venom launched a franchise, with a direct sequel from director Andy Serkis and other movies revolving around Spider-Man villains in the works.
Sony's independence from Marvel may open up different creative avenues that weren't available under the MCU umbrella, such as the prospect of an R-rated Venom sequel. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out. It's disappointing Tom Holland's Peter Parker can't interact with MCU characters anymore (for now, anyway), but some felt this interpretation of the character had become almost too dependent on those connections (particularly with Tony Stark) and would prefer Spider-Man return to being the DIY, relatable kid from Queens fans originally fell in love with. The filmmakers may have to think outside the box as they continue Peter's story sans MCU, but it could be exciting to see what points of view they run with.